Dentists, florists and nurses were among a large group of people attending one of Cape Town’s first cannabis growing workshops over the weekend.
Multimedia designer Grant Taylor, 30, said that the idea to host the Cannabis Grow Workshop in Zonnebloem came to him the day after the Constitutional Court decriminalised the private cultivation of marijuana earlier this year.
“I want to educate people on how to cultivate cannabis, whether it be for medicinal or recreative purposes,” Taylor said. “When I heard about the court judgment, I saw it as an opportunity and the very next day I started spamming horticulture Facebook pages.”
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Sold out tickets
The event was wildly popular and within two days, tickets to the workshop were sold out.
“Guest speakers spoke about the basics of growing cannabis organically, soil culture and how to cultivate the seeds,” he explained. “The people who came were ordinary, everyday people.”
The fascination with cannabis cultivation is nothing new. In fact, Business Insider reported that SA has been identified by the US State Department as a large supplier of herbal cannabis for the UK and continental Europe.
Marijuana is also a source of income for rural communities in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
At the cultivation workshop in Cape Town, Taylor sold dagga kits that consisted of organic soil and pots.
“We were helped by freedom farms, who provided us with organic soil and pots for the kit,” he said. “No dagga is involved, there is no seed for obvious reasons – just proper organic soil.”
Despite the success of the event, Taylor said there were obstacles preventing him from hosting the workshop.
“When I contacted the venue last year that hosted my hydroponics workshops, they were very excited. But when I told them what the workshop was about, they became uncomfortable with the subject matter,” he explained.
READ MORE: Twitter users celebrate dagga ruling
Hydroponics is the method of growing plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent.
“Even though I told them there would be no plant, just the presentation – they weren’t interested. Eventually, I reached out to a friend who plans on running a cannabis dispensary once it is completely legal and used his venue.”
The experience of hosting a workshop of this nature was very important to Taylor.
“I live in a small flat in the city and I always hear people complain about how they can’t grow anything. I tried growing my own plant in high school, but that was unsuccessful,” he joked.
“I just want to help people because I can understand the frustrations of people who are trying to grow something – build something.”
He plans on expanding his original idea and hopes to facilitate more workshops in the future.
“There are three of us altogether. One is going to run a vlog and I’m going to set up a website and manage the Facebook group. There’s going to be a lot of admin,” he said enthusiastically.
“We want to grow a bigger community on Facebook and get more guest speakers. Maybe people can post pictures and they can vote on the nicest looking plant.”